Purple was the color of the day last Sunday at the South County Center where the inaugural ceremony for the South Fairfax County bus service was held. This public kick-off event highlighted not only the new express bus service called REX, but new Fairfax County bus routes and new bus shelters as well.
The new limited-stop express service, which will operate on Richmond Highway seven days a week, stops at only 12 bus stops between Fort Belvoir and the Huntington and King Street Metro stations. Low-floor buses makes it easier and faster for passengers to step on-board; SmartCard fare boxes make it easier and faster to pay the fare; and transponders trigger traffic signals so that buses can keep moving.
Just about every local politician was there for the event, including Supervisor Dana Kauffman, Supervisor Gerry Hyland, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors chairman Gerald Connolly, U.S. Rep. James Moran, Del. Kristen J. Amundson (D-44), state Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller (D-36), Del. Mark Sickles (D-43), County Executive Tony Griffin and Kate Hanley, former Fairfax Count Board of Supervisors chairman. Also on hand were several representatives from Metro, Connex, VDOT, Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Fort Belvoir.
MODERATING the event was Hyland, who said, “It’s an exciting day for Lee-Mount Vernon. The bus service is remarkable and will make a difference to those who live here.”
Kauffman said, “We’re here to show you that we can make things work. We listened to the riders and are having success up and down the highway. Gerry and I are famous for our tag-team effort and are bringing it home to Richmond Highway. REX is the ultimate example of fast, reliable transit service. Buses will be much faster and will give riders a reason to leave their cars at home. I want everybody on a bus in the next few months.”
Connolly said that looking at the West Potomac Colonial Singers, it occurred to him that George and Martha would never recognize this mode of transportation.
“We’ve got to focus on giving choices,” Connolly said. “We’ll never get rid of congestion but we can offer choices—things like HOT lanes, expansion of HOV lanes and Rail to Dulles Airport. I’m so pleased to see this project come to fruition.
Kate Hanley, who was involved in this project as the former Board of Supervisors chairman, said, “The word for today is multi-modal. We’re able to think in ways that we don’t normally. The multi-jurisdictional sources of money for this have also been wonderful. All Hail REX!”
The ceremony ended with ribbon cuttings of the new REX bus and the new bus shelter. This shelter is one of 11 pairs that will be built along Richmond Highway during the next year.
For more information about the new bus service, call the Fairfax Connector Information Center at 703-339-7200 or visit the Web site, www.fairfaxconnector.com.